Student Voices

“My experience at the Immigration Clinic this semester has genuinely been the highlight of my law school career. Something that stood out to me so far have been the responses of our clients–I have been so deeply moved by all of the gratitude that the clients have expressed to us, and I can’t express how much I appreciate having been able to work with all of these wonderful people, each with their individual, compelling stories. Truly, I am grateful beyond words for the trust they place in our Clinic. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Immigration Clinic, and my sole regret is not having taken it sooner.”

Thummim Park, Class of 2022

“The Immigration Clinic is by far the most rewarding experience I have had in law school. Working for the Clinic has offered the unique opportunity to apply what I have learned in the classroom almost directly to the cases to which I have been assigned. What I have enjoyed most, however, is helping our clients. I came to law school because I wanted to be an advocate for the underserved and underrepresented. The people we assist at the Clinic depend on us to help them navigate an immigration system fraught with bureaucratic pitfalls and inequities. I am inspired by their resilience and consider myself fortunate to work with them.”

Mike Arnone, Class of 2022

“Working at the Immigration Clinic has been extremely rewarding. I have real cases with real clients, and I feel that what I learn in class is immediately applicable and helpful to the actual practice of the law. I am so impressed with the lessons, the organization and case management, and the passion to help our clients. I’m grateful that I get to be a part of it!”

Savanna Johnson, Class of 2022

“I registered for Clinic because I wanted real-world client interaction in a supportive and educational environment. And I have gotten exactly that. The Clinic does real work for people in need, which is exactly why I want to be a lawyer. I feel immensely grateful for my Clinic experience and proud of the work I have been able to accomplish.”

Shelby Fuchs, Class of 2022

“My greatest regret in law school is that I didn’t sign up for W&M’s Immigration Clinic sooner! From a selfish perspective, the Clinic’s real-world experience has taught me how to be such a better lawyer. To name a few things, Professor Kern-Scheerer and Nicole have taught me how to conduct a trauma-informed interview, handle granular affidavit issues, and, of course, approach substantive asylum law. However, more important than what I’ve learned has been the amazing opportunity to help improve our clients’ lives. Our clients come to us with some of the most harrowing of journeys. Sadly, these journeys are almost always the product of simply trying to survive in this world, so to offer these people some hope and opportunity is truly a fantastic experience.”

Brian Touna, Class of 2022

“When I started law school, I wouldn’t have known working in the Immigration Clinic was something I would do while at William & Mary. After taking an Immigration Law course with Professor Kern-Scheerer, however, I jumped at the opportunity to put what I had learned in the classroom into practice with clients. Being able to do this while still in law school has been an overwhelming positive experience. I have the benefit of taking real responsibility for client work while also getting to be intentional about making sure I receive the feedback and learning I need to take these skills with me when I leave William & Mary. Additionally, this has been an exciting semester in the Clinic because it has taken on a number Afghan clients who are seeking refuge in the U.S. following the Taliban takeover of the government last summer. Experiencing how higher-up policy decisions impact people navigating the immigration system in real time has strengthened my resolve to stay engaged in this work after I leave the Clinic.” 

Fiona Carroll, Class of 2022

“As I am about to graduate from law school, I can honestly say that working in the William & Mary Law School Immigration Clinic has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in law school. Not only have I been able to gain real world experience, but the work I completed in the Clinic was work that had a significant impact on someone’s life. My client was not able to file her immigration paperwork herself, but it was paperwork she desperately needed filed in order to continue living here in the United States. Working in the Clinic gave me the opportunity to help someone who truly needed it. The work I completed for my client was incredibly hands-on, and as a student in the Clinic, I was given the responsibility to determine how various aspects of the case should go. Anyone who is interested in gaining valuable experience and helping others should consider participating in the Immigration Clinic.”

Kelsie Sicinski, Class of 2020

“My interest in the immigration clinic was born from a desire to put my legal training to use specifically for clients who face unique and difficult challenges navigating the U.S.’s immigration process. I had the great opportunity to provide an immigration presentation with some fellow classmates to a community organization that focuses on assisting refugees. Some of the immigrants we spoke with gained their personal admission status because of their work helping the U.S. military in Afghanistan, and as a Navy veteran myself, being able to provide some assistance to these immigrants is very personally rewarding.”

Christian Litwiller, Class of 2020

“During my time in the Immigration Clinic, I’ve learned a significant amount about everything from the intricacies of asylum-related immigration law, to how to form an effective particular social group, and how to draft a compelling client declaration. I think I’ve learned the most, however, through my client-facing experiences in the Clinic. My client, like many of the Clinic’s clients, does not speak English, and I do not speak her native language. Throughout the semester, I have struggled to build rapport with and communicate with her in the most organic and effective way. Talking to her through an interpreter presents challenges I did not expect; conversations don’t flow as naturally and can feel very choppy and impersonal. But after more practice, and with the help of the Clinic’s Spanish interpreter (the great Michael Jordan), my classmates, and Prof. Kern-Scheerer, I’ve grown to overcome some of these hurdles and form a meaningful and productive relationship with my client. I know this skill will serve me well in the future when I work with clients from different backgrounds, and the legal services I provide them will be even more valuable because of my experience in W&M’s Immigration Clinic.”

Jessie Strauser, Class of 2020

“Participating in the Immigration Clinic was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in law school. I was able to serve the immigrant community by giving them the legal assistance they needed to navigate such a complex area of the law. Immigration law is constantly evolving and so much of it comes down to the facts in a given case. The Clinic gives students the opportunity to take these facts and use them to give clients a voice in a system where their voice is often ignored.”

Natalie Cardenas, Class of 2020

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